D is for Doing Damage

My coworker has this gleeful expression she uses whenever she encourages us to indulge in retail therapy and go on a shopping spree. “I want to see you do some damage,” she says, referring to our bank account balances.

Of course that motto spells particular trouble for a writer who is trying to live frugally (as many must). It’s a highly competitive market. And let’s face it. If you’re primary goal is to make millions, you should probably consider a different line of work.

An encouraging reality check can be found at author Laura Purdie Sala’s blog. SCBWI recently featured Laura’s article discussing how much she earned from writing during 2013. She’s made the same information public every year since 2007.

What I find inspiring about Laura’s disclosure is that it highlights the many ways in which a professional writer may, as she puts it, “cobble together” a sustaining income from multiple sources. In 2013, Laura formed 11 different revenue streams ranging from the predicable (book sales, school visits, and teaching engagements) to the less obvious (web work, assessment writing, copy editing, how-to ebooks, and even an hourly mentoring business).

While putting all of that together is no easy task, it certainly is awesome to see the various ways in which one successful children’s writer is making it work.

If I do splurge this weekend, I think it’s going to be at a bookstore.

For those writers out there, how do you make it work?



  1. I had a second job in a bookstore – my paycheck went toward books, and I got an awesome discount. (Sadly, they are out of business.) Now I have a “regular” day job and make a little extra money writing and doing folk art painting for some local woodworkers. I’ve also sold some “one-off” framed poems, photos and artwork at flea markets. The stands usually cost $10 to $15 for the day, so anything over that is clear profit. 🙂

  2. The highs and lows of a shopping sprees is probably the closest I’m going to get to a drug addictions:I feel on top of the world with a cart load of bargains, but once I get home and look at the damage I always feel 10x worse and have to be frugal 10x longer to ride out the damage.

    Being frugal now is having faith that in the long term it will be all worth it and everything will work out. I can see you haven’t lost the faith yet, despite pressure, so I’m just dropping by to give a little encouragement to keep going!

    #929 from the A to Z Challenge

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